Indeed Survey: College Grads Prefer Passion of Pay

Today’s college grads let their hearts rule over their wallets, so says a new Indeed survey.

According to a recent study by job search engine Indeed, today’s college graduate, between 22 and 27, is interested in the emotional fulfillment of a job with a personal touch, such as the arts or social service.

Jobs that are increasing in popularity include graphic designers, social workers, relationship counsellors and postsecondary educators for the arts. From 2014 to 2018 Indeed saw decreasing interest in listings for more technical, math-based careers such as radiation therapists, statisticians, economists and actuaries.

There are those who dismiss the entry level employees of 2019, saying the millennial interest in creativity and communication over a traditional work week makes them lazy or entitled. But when examining the whole picture, that mentality couldn’t be more wrong. The jobs millenials are drawn toward make perfect sense in a changing world.

Unemployment Rates are at an All Time Low.

The 2019 job market is the strongest it’s been since the 1990s. After a period of instability in the early 2000s, recent college graduates feel secure knowing that today’s job market offers them the confidence that comes from choice.

Entry level employees may spend more time shopping around until they find the right fit, while in the past they were motivated to find and keep a steady paycheck as quickly as possible. Considering most jobs take up one third of a person’s adult life- it only makes sense to be picky.

Mental Health is a Priority

Conversations about mental health seem to be starting at a younger age and becoming more common overall. To someone who graduated in that climate, the emotional cost of a job is compared against the financial outcome.

The fast paced nature of a career in the financial industry has been linked to high rates of stress and depression even leading to suicide in some cases. In the past, mental health issues in the workplace have gone unreported due to social stigma and the anonymous quality a job in a large corporation can have. Though companies are starting to prioritize employee morale, math based industries need time to catch up to a growing conversation about the importance of good mental health practices.

Interestingly, careers in the more recently popular industries such as social work and arts/entertainment are also linked to depression and mood disorders, but these careers come out on top in the risk/reward equation, and conversations around the topic of self care may come easier to those in a less buttoned up environment.

Creativity is a Commodity

As technology continues to advance at a faster rate than ever before, more jobs vanish as they become replaced by automated alternatives. It stands to reason that as machines become capable of performing colder more mathematical tasks, today’s college student’s greatest asset is their humanity.

Today’s consumer wants to download an app for more mundane practices but will wait 5 minutes for a pourover coffee, order a handmade gift on Etsy, and squeeze in a Skype session with a therapist on their lunch break.

While jobs in entertainment, artistry or therapy may look different than they have in the past, there is no way to replace a thinking, feeling human being who can react, relate and create something unique in the moment.

There are Jobs to be Had in Desirable Fields.

The bottom line is- popular industries are hiring. Recent graduates are looking for emotionally fulfilling work, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be broke. Graphic designers make an average of $48,700 a year. A person with a knack for video editing can make an annual $61,180 in the film industry. While this is still much less than the average financial advisor, it’s certainly no starving artist income.

Besides, the average millennial prioritizes life experiences over material assets such as cars or houses. Many are choosing to delay having children or avoid it all together. This approach to life means less pressure to climb the corporate ladder to a six figure income.

Finally, mathematical industries are not obsolete- they’re just not considered as relevant or rewarding in today’s climate. It will be interesting to see how traditional industries revamp their approach to become more appealing to recent grads. In the meantime, the upswing toward creative, communicative and therapeutic jobs could prove to be a healthy trend and a welcome change of pace.